broken but not crushed

Helping each other live successfully and abundantly in the face of brokenness.

Location: Columbus, Central Ohio, United States

Friday, October 20, 2006

Dear Fellow Travelers,

“OK, Dwight, I’m reading and I’m praying, but how do I know if I’m getting through? I mean, how can I know that what I’m hearing is really God?” I hear you, friends. This whole spiritual journey we are on can sometimes be frustrating. Really, how DO you know it’s God talking and not some figment of your imagination or even worse, wishful thinking on steroids? As you might expect, I have an answer for you, and once again, it is from “The Book”.

Might I re-mention something first – recognizing God’s voice comes with practice. When my daughter calls on the phone I don’t have to guess who it is, I know who it is. I am familiar with her voice because I’ve heard it a thousand times and I want to hear it a thousand more.

Now, to today’s list. The following are six ways we can recognize God’s voice, that is, ways we can be sure that it is God talking and not something else.

1. God tends to speak gently. What a great story you will find in 1 Kings 19:11-13. If you are expecting this big booming voice sounding suspiciously like Carleton Heston with major reverb goin’ on, well, its not likely going to be like that at all.

2. God’s voice produces freedom. Matthew 11:28-30 I don’t mean to sound cryptic here – but so much of what we hear today causes conflict, stirs up trouble, or places the listener under some kind of obligation (bondage). But when God speaks we are better off after than we were at the start.

3. God tends to speak while we are consciously seeking him. Deuteronomy 4:29 and 2 Chronicles 7:14 Interesting, isn’t it? God is the ultimate gentleman – he does not intrude into our lives if we don’t want him there. Jeremiah 29 11-13 says “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

4. God speaks only the truth. Isaiah 45:19 as well as a whole bunch more – email me for more if you need them. In a world filled with lies and deception, political advertising and false religions, we desperately need to hear the truth, and God is bound by his own character to always be true.

5. God convicts only of specific sin. John 16:7-11 This is REALLY important. I’ve counseled so many people whose lives are short-circuited but have no idea why they feel “unforgivable” – they just somehow “feel bad” all over, like they are condemned. This is a lie from the pits of Hell itself. Yes, God does hate sin and convicts us when we are wrong, but he’s not EVER going to just make you just feel bad, or dirty, or useless. If you did wrong you will know the specific time and place, and, to be forgiven, you will need to confess and repent of specific sin, then stop doing it.

6. God does not confuse us. 1 Corinthians 14:33 Listen, if you are confused about an answer, the best course of action is to wait. God is NOT a God of confusion, but Satan is. Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord”. Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”. We can make bad decisions if we get impatient. Learn to take “what a while” for an answer and then wait until you get the assurance that you “know” God’s heart.

Well, I hope this helps when you are wondering if the voice you hear when you pray is God or last night’s pepperoni pizza. Joking aside, re-read the list and take it to heart. Study the scriptures attached to each one and find out what God has to say on the subject.

And until we meet again,


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